FRANKFURT/ZURICH (Reuters) – The Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) spying debacle risks tipping the bank into a crisis that could engulf its top executives.
Switzerland’s market supervisor is scrutinizing Credit Suisse’s oversight of chief executive Tidjane Thiam and his top lieutenants as part of a probe into corporate espionage, two people with direct knowledge of the investigation said.
FINMA is examining whether management control failures led to Switzerland’s second-largest bank snooping on two former executives, they said.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, FINMA could order Credit Suisse to overhaul its leadership, including requesting the resignation of any executive or board member if it concluded they failed to act in a ‘fit and proper’ manner, the people said.
They added that the probe was at an early stage and no conclusions had yet been drawn.
A spokesman for FINMA declined to comment. The watchdog said in December that it would appoint an independent auditor to help with its ongoing investigations into the compliance issues raised by the surveillance.
A spokesman for Credit Suisse said any suggestion that FINMA would focus on its senior management or its directors was speculation.
“Such speculation is unfounded and serves only to pre-judge the outcome of what is an audit and not an enforcement action,” the spokesman said.
“FINMA will conduct an independent audit which is not an enforcement. The final decree has not yet been issued and an auditor has not been appointed.”
Credit Suisse has said Thiam was unaware of the surveillance and said former Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, a longtime confidant of Thiam, initiated it in a solo run.